Tomy Drissi and BAR1 Motorsports Win the 2017 Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta

The 2017 Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta featured the final race in the history of the Prototype Challenge (PC) class. When the checkered flag fell on the season, the podium featured a trio of first-time winners in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition.

Tomy Drissi , John Falb, and Garett Grist co-drove the No. 26 BAR1 Motorsports Murder on the Orient Express / TOP 1 Oil  ORECA FLM09 to victory in the 20th Anniversary Petit Le Mans on Saturday at Road Atlanta slamming the door on a seven-race PC win streak by the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports team.

Just past the halfway point in the 10-hour race, the No. 38 machine was involved in an incident with the No. 13 LM P2 car. BAR1 teammate, Buddy Rice grabbed the lead in the No. 20 car. Then just two laps later, Tomy Drissi took the lead from Rice. The teammates traded the class lead a couple of times in the sixth hour, but ultimately, Tomy and his co-drivers pulled away over the last three-and-a-half hours to win by eight laps. While this was the first WeatherTech Championship win for all three drivers, it was Tomy’s fourth career IMSA win. Drissi has enjoyed three previous victories in the American Le Mans Series. Falb and Grist had not won previously at the top levels of IMSA.”

“This was a fun weekend,” said Tomy. “Obviously, it’s always fun when you win, but everyone was committed to the same goal… we really wanted to end the season on a high note. Brian [Alder] and the BAR1 guys have worked so hard all season… they never get down and they always give 100%. So I’m happy for them. They really deserve this result.”

“My co-drivers were fantastic,” added Tomy. “Early in the week we were chasing the handling and additional speed. Everybody worked together to find solutions that were compatible to the three of us. And it really paid off. We all turned in career drives. I know it’s cliche`, but the crew, the driver changes, pit stops… we were definitely in synch.”

“I really want to give a shout out to our teammates, Don Yount, Buddy Rice and Daniel Burkett in the No. 26 car,” said Tomy. “Congratulations to them for taking second. I know they struggled with gearbox issues late in the race… but they were right with us. Also, they started out the week with the faster car and unselfishly worked with us to try and get both cars working the same. They aren’t obligated to do that… but they did. That say’s a lot about those guys.”

The (LeMans) Prototype Challenge class debuted in 2010. The PC prototype chassis is built by French manufacturer Oreca and known as the FLM09. The PC race cars use Chevrolet’s naturally aspirated V8 6.2L LS3 engine. The cars feature a full carbon fiber chassis, carbon brakes and an Xtrac sequential gearbox with paddle shifting. They weigh in at a mere 900 kilograms and can reach speeds of 175+ mph.

“It’s a shame these cars are going away,” said Tomy. “I’ve had a lot of success in these cars… going back to the ALMS and at tracks like Mosport, Mid-Ohio and Baltimore, we had 13 visits to the podium.  We saw some great racing against some really great drivers and teams.”

“The PC class, you know, it really did its job since 2010,” Drissi said. “They were great battles, I know they weren’t the P1 or P2 cars, or the big factory teams, but some of the greatest racing in those cars will be talked about by drivers and teams and fans.”

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